Article by Machinery Tomoko
Hey, it's been a while. Guess the last time I was here was when I wrote about tax returns. I'm Machinery Tomoko, a cyborg virtual YouTuber.
So, you know what? I made a crucial decision to buy a 3D printer! As the name suggests, a 3D printer produces three-dimensional objects, unlike the printers that print 2D illustrations or texts.
With a 3D printer, I can produce various types of objects at home. For instance, I can make a figure at home. I can even make objects that we're all familiar with, like accessories for smartphones and PC or interior decorations. I can also make robotic components. I'm pretty sure Akiha Ikebukuro is either dying to have a 3D printer in her laboratory or she already has one. Not that I know of, though.
Anyway, a 3D printer is a machine that people who like to shape objects will drool over.
Up until pretty recently, a printer that can produce smooth outputs to create figures tended to cost tens of thousands of yen, but guess what? I heard now you can get fairly sleek results with a printer that costs around 100,000 JPY. Isn't that awesome!? I know spending 100,000 JPY on something requires real courage, but that's an amount I can afford now!
So I decided to have an interview with a 3D printer shop that I've set my eyes on. I went there to ask the staff questions about the present condition of the 3D printer industry, what I can do with a 3D printer, and have the staff give me the final push that I would need to buy a 3D printer (also to write an article out of the interview, earn money for the article, and use it to pay for my 3D printer).
Nowadays, 3D modeling is becoming a familiar concept thanks to the influence of virtual YouTubers and VRChat, so I think more and more people are getting curious about how to produce three-dimensional objects. I hope this article will boost your curiosity!
Types of 3D printers
Hello. I'm Machinery Tomoko, Singularity's cyborg.
I'm Sakamoto from pixiv. This cyborg threatened me and ordered me to accompany her for this interview. I decided to put on a three-dimensional face to match the content of Tomoko's project, but I'm a human.
I'm Osozawa from SK Honpo. Thank you for wanting to learn more about the 3D printers that our company sells.
I had the impression that in order to get some good quality rapid prototyping, which is suitable for creating figures and other objects, I will have to spend about 500,000 JPY despite the fact there are more, cheaper 3D printers nowadays. But then I heard that the Phrozen Shuffle that your company sells is able to produce fairly sleek objects.
Yes. There are several types of 3D printers and many of the small and affordable printers for individuals are those of the FDM (fused filament fabrication) type. A filament is a plastic that has been stretched to a threadlike state. An FDM type printer works by heating up the filaments until they melt and build up an object. The printer is known for its low cost since it's not difficult to set up and the materials can be found easily.
Wow! The details of the rapid prototype's tower are much clearer.
You're right! The FDM type's tower has threads of melted filaments here and there. And the layers are pretty uneven...
On the contrary, the rapid prototype printer's tower is an amazing structure of neatly packed resin.
A difference among rapid prototype printers
I've actually made my own arm prayer wheel with 3D data before. I made it using DMM.make, which is a 3D printing service that DMM has. This is it...
Most action figures in the markets include parts that are of the same size as this wheel and I spent about 5,000 JPY to create this.
I'd say this is a Form2 product. What do you think?
What is a "Form2"?
It'd be nice to have a Form2 printer, but the price is 500,000 JPY. That's why I used to think rapid prototype 3D printers were out of my reach.
Yes, I could rely on printing services and when I consider all the things that must have been involved to print this piece, I don't think 5,000 JPY per piece is expensive. But because a printing service can't just create a piece of this size and sell it for 5,000 JPY per piece in a large quantity, I thought I would get my own 3D printer. That's when I heard about the Phrozen Shuffle and the low cost impressed me.
On the other hand, the Phrozen Shuffle uses the DLP/LCD method which means it projects UV light onto the entire surface. The molding is controlled by an LCD that acts as a mask. This method is better if you're looking for a way to cut printing costs.
What kind of data is needed to print?
Well, what can I say. This printer is awesome. I think I'm going to buy it.
First and foremost, you need data before you can print using a 3D printer, right? But I still don't quite understand how to create the data.
Simply put, there are two types of digital modeling software that you can choose before using a 3D printer, namely the 3D CAD type and the sculpting type.
3D CAD entails designing and drafting.
Basically, you can use the software by drawing lines and pushing the object to create volume. 3D CAD is suitable for creating data that contain straight and exact lines.
The other software type is sculpting, which has been getting more popular among the people who create figures in recent years.
I think a software called Blender was popular a while ago thanks to VRChat. Can we make data with that software?
Basically, you're all set as long as you have saved the data for 3D printing as a .stl file. A file in this format is a group of small 3D triangular data and you can make this file with most 3D modeling software.
TinkerCAD is another software and it's easy to operate because you can use it as if you're piling up building blocks. You can't make complicated shapes like a female character with the software, but it does the job as long as you keep your objects simple.
You can choose not to create your own data too because there are people who distribute or sell data for 3D printing on the Internet. You can also search for items that you want on the Internet and create your own data at home, which is just as fun. Our company has some recommended websites that are useful to find 3D data, so take a look.
And then... One week later.
The printer has arrived!!!
Next up is the Trial Arc!
To Be Continued...
- Machinery Tomoko
I'm a cyborg VTuber who became a YouTuber in order to support Akiha Ikebukuro from The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls. I exist and collect virtue through arm prayer wheels. And yet I've been taking only writing jobs. Why? (Someone please offer me a collaboration job.)